Becoming an interior designer without a degree may seem like a daunting task, but it is definitely possible. In fact, many successful interior design business startup have started their careers without a formal education in the field. With the right skills, experience, and attitude, you can become a successful interior designer without a degree. Here’s how:

Build Your Knowledge and Skills

One of the first things you need to do to become an interior designer without a degree is to build your knowledge and skills. This can be done in a variety of ways, including taking online courses, attending workshops and seminars, and reading books and magazines about interior design.

Some key areas to focus on include color theory, space planning, furniture styles and materials, lighting, and textiles. You can also develop your skills in software programs such as SketchUp and AutoCAD, which are widely used in the interior design industry.

Gain Practical Experience

Gaining practical experience is a crucial step in becoming an interior designer without a degree. It allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in a real-world setting, build your portfolio, and make connections in the industry. Here are some ways to gain practical experience:


Many interior design firms offer internships to aspiring designers. These programs can range from a few weeks to several months and provide hands-on experience in the field. Interns may assist with tasks such as drafting floor plans, selecting materials and finishes, and creating presentations.

Volunteer work

Volunteering your services to local charities or community organizations can be a great way to gain practical experience and build your portfolio. You may be asked to design a space for a nonprofit organization or decorate a room for a fundraising event.

Assistant work

Working as an assistant to an established designer can provide valuable experience and exposure to the industry. Assistants may help with tasks such as sourcing materials, coordinating with vendors, and managing projects.

Design-related jobs

If you’re unable to secure an internship or assistant position, consider working in a design-related job. Sales associates at furniture stores, visual merchandisers, and showroom assistants can all provide valuable experience and exposure to the industry.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to approach practical experience with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Be sure to ask questions, seek feedback, and take on new challenges to maximize your learning opportunities.

Build Your Portfolio

A portfolio is an essential tool for any interior designer, but it’s especially important when you don’t have a degree. Your portfolio should showcase your design skills and aesthetic, and should include a variety of projects that demonstrate your versatility and creativity.

If you’re just starting out, you can create mock projects to add to your portfolio, such as redesigning a room in your own home or a friend’s home. You can also volunteer to design spaces for local charities or community organizations, which can provide valuable experience and exposure.

Network and Market Yourself

Networking and marketing are important skills for any interior designer, but they are especially crucial when you don’t have a degree. Building relationships with other designers, contractors, and industry professionals can lead to new job opportunities and collaborations.

You can attend industry events, join professional organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and participate in online forums and groups. Social media is also a powerful tool for marketing yourself as an interior designer, so be sure to create a professional website and social media profiles that showcase your work and personality.

Be Professional and Persistent

Finally, it’s important to be professional and persistent in your pursuit of a career as an interior designer. This means presenting yourself in a professional manner, meeting deadlines, and delivering high-quality work.

It also means being persistent in your efforts to find new clients and projects. Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential clients or collaborators, even if you don’t have a degree. With the right skills, experience, and attitude, you can become a successful interior designer without a degree.


While a degree in interior design can be helpful, it’s not always necessary to become a successful interior designer. By building your knowledge and skills, gaining practical experience, building your portfolio, networking and marketing yourself, and being professional and persistent, you can build a successful career as an interior designer without a degree.

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